Show those obstacles who’s boss with celebrity fitness trainer Jessie Pavelka’s top obstacle course racing tips
Last week I got filthy with this ugly man, fitness expert Jessie Pavelka, host of Obese: A Year to Save My Life and The Biggest Loser USA. Jessie is working with Cancer Research UK on their Pretty Muddy obstacle events and he put us through a training session designed to get us obstacle fit, then let us loose on the tunnels, crawl nets and mud pits you might encounter during Pretty Muddy.
Pretty Muddy 5k and 10k events are suitable for all abilities and there are plenty of walkers, but if you want to smash the course and lead the field, you could do worse than follow Jessie’s muddy obstacle event training tips.
1. Give yourself 8-10 weeks to train for a muddy obstacle event. That’s enough time to get used to running and handling your own bodyweight so you feel confident going into the run. Don’t wait till the last minute to prep for it, put a plan together and stick to it.
2. For a muddy obstacle race you need to be able to run but you also need to be able to handle your own bodyweight in different ways. Alongside running or run/walking, include functional bodyweight exercises like burpees and squat jumps in your training to get better at controlling your own weight and sprints to get used to speeding up between obstacles.
3. Most events will have obstacles that involve crawling under things. Doing bear crawls in training will help you get used to the body position required and push ups and mountain climbers will strengthen your upper body and help you pull yourself along if you need to crawl on your belly.
4. Exercises that engage the core are important for building strength and will help with your balance. Holding a plank is a great one. The cool thing about a plank is you get to that point where you think ‘I can’t do it anymore’, and you build the strength of will to go for another 10 or 20 seconds. Any exercises where you block out discomfort are beneficial as they’ll help you keep going mentally if things get tough on the course.
5. On climbing obstacles like nets and A-Frames, lots of people make the mistake of hauling themselves up with their upper body. When you climb it’s actually more about using the bigger, stronger muscles in the lower body. Your upper body’s just there to anchor you. You can strengthen the lower body in training with squats and lunges. Any exercises where you bend and then use your lower body strength to extend are great.
6. Because you’re going to be racing outdoors on the day of the event, take some of your training to the park. This will help you get used to the elements, such as the rain and the wind, and also get you used to training on uneven ground.
7. On the day of the race, when you cross the line, make sure you feel good about yourself. Make sure you’ve challenged yourself and you feel like you’ve accomplished something. And, most importantly, have fun with it.
Enter a Cancer Research UK Race for Life 5k, 10k or Pretty Muddy event, in partnership with Tesco, and raise funds to cure all 200 types of cancer. Join the Pink Army and run, walk and charge to help beat cancer sooner. To find a Cancer Research Pretty Muddy obstacle event near you visit raceforlife.cancerresearchuk.org